Energy Wasters: Scare Away Those Vampire Loads

turning off power to power strip to reduce vampire load

Have you heard about the slow drain on your electricity from appliances, known as “vampire loads,” “phantom loads” or “standby energy drain”? These are the oh-so-scary loads of electricity that our electronic devices and appliances suck out of outlets without our notice. According to Energy.gov, as much as 10% of our electricity usage is due to electronics that consume energy when we aren’t even using them.

Join us in celebrating “Energyween” with Energy.gov: Scare off those wasteful vampire loads and save energy.

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Audit Your Outlets for Vampire Loads

Go through every room in your house and consider each electrical outlet and what it’s powering. You will find many items that don’t need to be plugged in all the time and are using energy without your permission. Consider unplugging these items until you need them again:

  • Baby wipe warmers
  • Lotion warmers
  • Clocks in guest rooms
  • Nightlights that automatically illuminate during the day
  • Game consoles
  • Printers and shredders
  • Coffee makers with lights and readouts

Anything that has a display, clock, timer, memory, remote, or that lets off heat is using electricity all the time. Consider if you need that item ready to use all the time or not.

You don’t necessarily need to unplug everything, you may be able to just flip the power switch. Electronics that you can turn off — such as computer monitors and speakers, towel warmers, lights, toasters, or toaster ovens — can just be turned off. Most of these appliances do not use energy after you turn off the power switch.

Avoid Unnecessarily Charging Batteries

Many of us have battery-powered devices and tools that we leave sitting on the charger, plugged in, and using electricity all the time. But does your electric toothbrush need to be constantly recharging? Most can last for weeks without charging, so the answer is likely a big no. The same goes for water picks, power tools, tablets, remote control cars, walkie talkies, charged vacuums, and mobile phones.

Most electrically charged items do not need to be at 100% capacity all the time. Plug in the device before use to let it charge. Or charge it when the battery is nearly empty. Consider this minor inconvenience a small sacrifice for Team Planet.

Use a Power Strip

A power strip with a switch controls whether the items plugged in are consuming electricity or not. On those devices that are rarely used, but the plug is in an inconvenient spot, a power strip is a great option to turn it on and off easily.

Use Technology to Avoid Electricity Waste

There are many apps that you can use to alert you to your energy usage. Also, check out the Sense and Kill A Watt energy monitors to help track your electricity drain.

Research Before You Purchase

When purchasing new appliances, electronics, or anything that plugs into an outlet, first consider the item’s energy requirements. Read up on the ENERGY STAR website about the best-rated products for energy efficiency before you make your next purchase.

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Maureen Wise

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